- April 2021
Staffordshire schools will miss out on £1,764,983 in funding for disadvantaged children thanks to Conservative accounting con – new analysis
Children in Staffordshire are set to lose out on £1,764,983 in extra support for children on free school meals thanks to an administrative sleight of hand that will see tens of thousands of disadvantaged children across the country ignored.
Local authorities across the country will lose out on millions in pupil premium funding – allocated to support children on free school meals – as government funding changes come into force. Labour analysis of freedom of information requests reveals that as many as 120,000 children could be missing out on support worth up to £155 million.
The change will see children lose support as the deadline for assessing eligibility for Pupil Premium funding (awarded to schools teaching disadvantaged children), is brought forward from the usual January cut-off to October, excluding tens of thousands of children from families pushed into poverty between October 2020 and January 2021- a move widely condemned by educationalists. In that period Universal Credit claimants rose by 5.5% across the country.
According to LGA Labour analysis, the average financial impact on local authorities is 7.4% of the total allocation in pupil premium 2020 – in Staffordshire, that’s £1,764,983, 1,312 children at primary school not receiving their Pupil Premium.
Publishing the figures, Labour’s Kathy Coe, Candidate for Lichfield City North said,
“The Conservatives can afford a 40% pay-rise for Dominic Cummings and £2bn in crony contracts for their mates, but when it comes to support for disadvantaged children in Staffordshire, they are cutting every corner they can find.
“That’s £1,764,983 our children are missing out on, while this country throws billions after billions at a test and trace system that hasn’t worked, means missing out on the laptops, lessons and support they need to catch-up after a truly terrible year.
“It beggars belief that this government thinks it can use an accounting con to short change children in Staffordshire. They have the wrong priorities and they are making the wrong decisions – time for another u-turn, now.”
- March 2021
The terrible shock of the abduction of Sarah Everard has touched so many people across the country. The fact that a young woman walking home at only 9.30 pm, on main roads, could be abducted and then murdered has raised so many issues about the safety of women. The fact that the main suspect is a serving police officer has only added to the shock and fear.Men are not safe either. In fact young men are more likely to be assaulted in the street than women are. And actually we all want our young people to be safe to walk the streets and enjoy the freedom that hopefully we will all find when the restrictions are lifted and we begin to live a more normal life again.Since the news broke many women who have been intimidated or harassed, or even attacked and sexually assaulted on the streets have started a movement to meet and hold a vigil, to reclaim the streets. Thousands of women have been recounting their own experiences of feeling unsafe and sometimes being too scared to go out alone. I know that most of my female friends would also be able to give accounts of the harassment that they have been subjected to.
Lichfield is a relatively safe area but still we can’t take our safety for granted. While more police on the streets would make a huge difference, there is little likelihood that the days of police on the beat will return. Many crimes fail to be investigated because there just are not enough police officers to deal with them. According to the Crime Survey of England and Wales there were 151,000 rapes committed in one year. 144,000 of the victims were women. Only 55,000 were reported to the police and of these only 1,439 convictions were successful. This is something that needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency. Would you report it?
We have been very fortunate to have the Late Night Listeners looking after people coming out of pubs at the weekend, and they have no doubt prevented incidents by ensuring that people get home safely when they have maybe had a little too much to drink, or just become separated from their friends. They are an amazing group of people and I am sure will be back when they are allowed to.
If elected I aim to be a support to groups like Late Night Listeners, and promote the work that they are doing. I’m sure there are many people who have been very grateful for their help. Often the fear and perception of risk is worse than the actual risk so we need to get a message out about the safety of the area, but also about how to limit the risk.
Actually the most worrying thing is that Sarah did all the things that we are told to do to protect ourselves when out alone at night. She took a well lit route, her boyfriend knew where she was and she called him to let him know she was on her way home. Yet all of this was not enough to save her.
We all need to work to keep our streets safe. We shouldn’t have to feel unsafe on the streets but we need to work together to make it safer. It is for all of us, men and women, to make the streets a safe place for all of us. If we see someone at risk we need to act on it. We need to call the police, we need to help each other. We need to make sure that our streets are well lit and that there is sufficient CCTV in high risk areas.
We are so fortunate to live in an area that is relatively safe but we can’t afford to take that for granted. We need to continue to be a community that cares and looks out for each other. That is the Lichfield I know.